It wasn’t altogether anyone’s fault. It just happened to turn out that Jill loved John more than she loved Jack, so when push came to shove Jill went back to John and Jack was left all alone, angry and upset, but with nobody to really be upset with. At least nobody who really deserved it. Well, other than John who was – as Jack would shout to himself in the middle of the night: “A fucking bellend!” Even then though, John hadn’t really done anything. He was just a dick and, against all odds, the better man – apparently.
Still, Jack was upset, depressed and heartbroken and he had nothing to do.
So he sat and didn’t watch the TV.
He turned on a games console and blankly watched himself die over and over.
He ordered his favourite pizza, ate one bite and forgot all about it.
At night he stared at the ceiling and sometimes, if he could work up the effort to do so, he cried.
After about a week of ‘this bullshit’, there was a smart, neat and unnervingly precise set of knocks upon the door.
Jack hauled himself out of his seat, adjusted his stinking bathrobe to conceal his cock, dragged his finger through the knots in his hair and answered the door.
There was a thin looking man with pale skin against which his dark, dark eyes stood out. He wore a dark, dark suit and a dark, dark hat – which he tipped in greeting in an old-fashioned way.
“Jack,” he said, in bold italics. “I am Mister Fuller. My card.”
In long, thin fingers he held out a neatly printed card, which Jack took, but it didn’t really tell him much. It just said ‘Mister Fuller’ on the front in a typewriter font, and ‘Filler of emptiness’ on the back. Beneath that, in slightly smaller writing was ‘Available everywhere’ and beneath that ‘Call: Thrice’.
“I don’t really understand…” Jack began, but Mister Fuller shook his head and cut him off.
“Jack,” he smiled, revealing his dark, dark mouth. “I fill empty things and you are so very, very empty. Aren’t you? I can fix that. It’s…” he paused, ominously “…free?” it wasn’t quite a statement, it wasn’t quite a question but it was something.
Jack didn’t quite know what to do. He was still dazed, confused and stunned from everything and hadn’t slept properly in days so he found himself stepping aside from Mister Fuller with a half hearted offer of “Tea?”
“Just an empty mug. Thank you kindly.”
Jack dealt with that, handing Mister Fuller a chipped ‘World’s Best Boyfriend’ mug once he returned. In the meantime Mister Fuller had set a dark, dark bag on the sideboard and opened it up.
“Ah. Excellent,” Mister Fuller took a sup from the mug, inexplicably – now – full of steaming Assam tea. “There’s an examination before I fill you up. It’s purely a formality. If you’d just sit down and open your mouth?”
Again Jack found himself complying for some reason, though it was really beyond him as to why. Mister Fuller set the mug to one side and leaned over, gravity defying, as though his dark, dark shoes were bolted to the floor. He leaned so close it was almost as though he was leaning inside Jack – but that was impossible, wasn’t it?
Some long tool made of dark, dark metal scraped and scratched so deep inside Jack he felt like an empty barrel.
“Well, well Jack. Something has hollowed you out pretty well. Just some ashes here, ruined memories, a quick scrape and we should be good to… ah no, wait…”
He seemed to lean deeper, deeper, until Jack could almost taste his dusty shoe-leather.
“What’s this? No, this won’t do.”
Mister Fuller recoiled from Jack, the way a snail tugs back its eye-stalks. He rapidly put away his tools as Jack smacked his lips to get the strange taste of coal-dust off his lips. “Is there a problem?”
“You’re not really hollow Jack,” Mister fuller shrank back towards the door with a tip of his hat. “There’s hope in there, but don’t hesitate to call if you lose that as well.”
The door clicked shut and the room was silent, save for a slight gurgle as ‘World’s Best Boyfriend’ slowly drained until the mug was, once again, empty.
But the funny thing was, Mister Fuller had done exactly what he said he would do. Jack didn’t feel hollow any more – and there was cold pizza to eat. Things weren’t so bad.